8 Piping Close, Colden Common
From Old Home to SuperHome
OPEN Day for advice and tour of
8 Piping Close
Colden Common, SO21 1UP
10:00 to Noon & 1pm to 4pm
Rob Veck exchanged his demanding career as an IBM project manager for a life devoted to helping the fight against climate change. He was inspired by a book by Richard Heinberg entitled “The Party’s Over” which details a bleak future for mankind due to population growth and energy demand. So, with early retirement, Rob set about a new project to renovate his home with the aim of creating as near to a carbon-zero house as possible.
With all the energy efficient improvements to his house, Rob has managed to cut his carbon emissions by a magnificent 79%.
|The house has been heavily insulated throughout. The walls are externally insulated, with 110mm of Celotex based on rain-screen cladding which gives a U-value of 0.14. The loft contains 290mm of Celotex underneath the sloping roof with an extra 150mm of Celotex on the flat part of the dormer roof, and 200mm on the dormer walls. 165mm of Celotex has been fitted underneath the floor (with the exception of the kitchen and downstairs toilet), whilst polystyrene panels with a U-value of 0.10 have been used in the extension. Insulating the home can save a huge amount of money each year; according to the Energy Saving Trust, floor insulation saves around £50/year, wall insulation up to £400/year and loft insulation £145/year. In addition, Rob has installed thermal mass panels in part of the dormer roof which work to create a steady temperature throughout the day. They absorb excess heat when the room temperature exceeds a certain value, and then releases it when the temperature drops below that value again.
A view of the house exterior
U Value = overall heat transfer coefficient. It quanitifies how well a building material conducts heat. The lower, the better insulation!
All the old windows had already been replaced with double glazed windows around 10 years ago, so these have been left in place. But the extension and dormer have been fitted with triple glazed windows, which can reduce heat loss by up to a third more than double glazing. In addition, new front and back doors are in place with U-values of 0.8.
Further to the highly efficient insulation, Rob has incorporated renewable energy systems into the house for both electricity and hot water. They make their own electricity using a PV system consisting of 22 BP panels with a peak output of 3.85kwp, and use a condensing gas boiler for hot water.
Interior and exterior view of the triple-glazed extension windows
|To compliment the boiler, Rob has installed the Villavent heat recovery system. Not only does this prevent the unhealthy build up of carbon dioxide that often occurs in well-insulated homes, it also retains heat which reduces usage of the boiler. The system continually replaces stale air that can’t otherwise escape, and replaces it with fresh, clean air. It uses a heat exchanger to recover much of the heat from outgoing air, and transfer it to the incoming air.
A third component of the heating system is the wood burning stove which is a great source of heat using renewable energy- as long as new plants are cultivated to replace the wood, and the wood is sourced locally, no excess carbon is released (except for transportation). Not only are wood stoves sustainable, the Energy Saving Trust estimate they can save up to £390 a year.
For hot water production, Rob has installed Navitron solar thermal panels. These work by absorbing solar radiation, transferring it to a circulating liquid, which in turn is used to heat water inside a hot water cylinder.
A view of Robs loft insulation during the renovations
|Finally, Rob has introduced simple measures that can be done in the everyday home. 80% of lights have been replaced with low energy bulbs (LED 1 watt GU10 bulbs). In addition, a mixer tap has been installed to supply hot water at 30 degrees to the washing machine, thus reducing the electricity required to heat up the water. And thirdly, a dual flush toilet is in use which considerably reduces water use in the bathroom. Water retention devices such as this can play a key role in reducing overall energy consumption and the energy bill!
In total, Rob has managed to reduce his carbon emissions by a massive 79%. The house acts as a great example for others to follow, which Rob actively encourages by blogging and publicising – he has even been featured on BBC South!
Table of carbon savings. Units are CO2 tonnes per year
The Sustainable Energy Academy is a charity which promotes education and action to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings and communities. Working in partnership with the National Energy Foundation, another charity, whose aim is to empower individuals and organisations to take action to reduce their carbon emissions?
Old Home SuperHome is a campaign to transform the energy efficiency of the existing housing stock. The project aims to provide a network of exemplar dwellings which are locally accessible. By showing how to replicate the techniques the project seeks to inspire others to undertake similar renovations
Climate change and global warming are now accepted to be real and immediate. We have to reduce our energy consumption and carbon emissions dramatically if we are to have a long-term future. This has stark implications for the existing buildings in the UK. There is a simple choice: either we improve our older houses, or we demolish them. There are 4.3 million houses that were built before 1919, which form 17% of the building stock across the country. Demolishing these homes would lead to immense loss of cultural amenity and identity, and at vast cost and disruption too.
Superhome Open Day – Sun 27th MarchWritten by admin on February 23, 2011 – 10:47 am